Train Your Dog to Leave It

The Leave It Command


Today, I’m going to teach you how to teach the Leave It Commmand and why It’s important

Hey folks, I’m Jim Burwell. As you saw in this video, little Annie is walking through a virtual landmine field of acorns.  She’s like a kid in a candy store thinking, “Where do I start?”

Teaching the ‘ Leave It” command  can be a very useful tool.

Some dog owners use the words, “drop” or “no off”.  They all can be used.  It’s always best to pick ONE word or phrase that to your dog always means: Leave It

Now, of course the Leave It Command is not only for acorns.

You could also use it for:

  • Leaving the kid toys alone
  • Not grabbing your linen towels on your oven handle in the kitchen.
  • An important one is gutter trash.   Stuff you don’t want your dog to get into when a on a walk with you.

To fix this with dog training, as usual, always takes lots of practice.

Here Are The Steps To Teach “Leave It”

First on a leash in your home with few to no distractions to make sure you’re both successful.

As you can see in the video, little Annie is beginning her first week at training in her home.

We put the acorns on a towel and we’re doing all our training inside first on leash.

At the beginning of her second week of training she is now responding to the leave it command

She turns to her mom,  gets praised and treated, after that she gets redirected to a “legal” chew toy

Make  A List of the “Not To Touch” Objects

This should be a list of all the things your dog likes but you know are off limits and illegal and Use Leave It

Begin your work on leash, in your home, before moving forward to training outside.  This gives you even more practical use  of the leave it command.

Your one-by-one steps to the “Leave it!” command.

  1. Put the forbidden item on the floor and approach with your dog on leash but keep a distance away
  2. As soon as your dog turns away out of frustration, say “Good!” and have your dog come to you for the treat.
  3. Rinse and repeat.
  4. When you can anticipate your dog is going to turn away, add the “Leave it!” command just before your dog turns away.   He will begin to pair the command word with the action of turning away from the forbidden item.
  5. Once your dog is listening to “Leave it!”, immediately praise and treat and then redirect to a legal and motivational toy.

Alway look for the WHY behind your dog’s behavior

Now, leaving things alone he is not supposed to have,  is not the only dog behavior problem that’s plaguing dog owners.

There’s jumping, there’s chewing on stuff, there’s attention barking, just to name a few.

No matter what the dog behavior problem is that you’re facing, the key is to find out the root cause of the problem.  That’s pretty easy to do if you follow some practical steps.

In other words, what’s bugging or stressing your dog out?



jim burwell dog trainer

Kids and Dogs – What’s OK Behavior

So many opinions on Kids and Dogs.  Do you trust the kids? Do you trust the dog? What’s the answer?

Well, the answer is, you don’t trust the kid or trust the dog. So trust neither one of them.

Kids and Dogs: they both have to be trained and supervised.  And just like dogs, even when you’re not teaching your child, your child is learning something.

Kids and Dogs Learn by Watching

So, a good example of this watching and learning is this: If a dog owner gets angry at his child, or starts punishing the child frequently enough in front of the family dog, the dog is going to get really edgy when that child comes around.

By the same token, if that same dog owner punishes the dog frequently enough in front of the child, then the child could take on the role of punisher of the dog. Then that child will get into trouble when the dog tries to defend himself.

Kids an Dogs: What’s the compromise? What’s the fix?


The best way to get started and avoid any issues between your child and your family dog , is to supervise both when they’re together.

If you have an age appropriate child that you can supervise, then teach that child to do obedience training with the dog: simple sits and downs. They become a team: Dogs and Kids

Your dog will develop a higher degree of respect for your child, and that’s a huge bonus.

Then the other thing to do is to teach your child and your dog to respect each other’s personal space.

So, I gotta ask you, what did you learn from this video, and how can you put this to use in your home with your dog and your child?

What’s your way to get good behavior from dogs and kids?

The Come Command and the Dog Park

The Come Command – And The Dog Park



The Come Command and The Dog Park

Almost all dog owners really like to take their dog to the dog park.  It’s fun for the dog, gives him much needed exercise and we dog owners love watching our dogs have fun.

What you may not think about though, is being sure your dog will respond to your commands, such as Here or Off while in that amazingly fun, high distraction venue of the dog park.  BUT – it’s important that you get to the place will your dog will respond, for safety sake and simply to reinforce listenting to you.

This is the email I got from a client complaining about and concerned because his dog won’t  come very well and not at all when in the dog park.

My dog will not do the come command especially when we’re in the dog park


He said his dog is too distracted with his playmates to listen to dad. So I sent through the steps I outline in the video to help him teach his dog to come to him even when he’s playing in the dog park

Perfecting the Come Command In the Dog Park

BIG TIP: Make sure your dog is super reliable FIRST with coming to you around your house, front yard, backyard, and in the neighborhood.

Then you take him to the dog park. But in the right sequence

The Come Command Sequence and Dog Parks

Now, here’s the key. Don’t go in the dog park but practice outside the dog park, on a long line.

Make sure that you have food treats with you so that you can reward the behavior when he comes to you, and practice outside the fence, okay?

Use the dogs in the dog park, his playmates, as the distraction, and do recalls using the come command outside the dog park on the long line until you reach your goal.

You’ll stand a much better chance of getting your dog to respond to your come command and leave the park with you when you’re ready to go.

Easily Get a Well Trained Dog


Now, eventually, you can get a well-trained dog meaning you have a well-mannered dog!  You keep his stress and yours to an absolute minimum if you can only remember to do one single thing. That is to require your dog to sit for every single thing that he might want in life. Just like kids, you teach your dog to say, “Please” for things that he might want. What could that possibly include? Let’s take a look at your dog’s want list. It’s short and it’s easy.

What’s On The Want List

That Gets You A Well Trained Dog?

For starters, you can categorize things your dog may want into four groups: Food, space, toys, love and affection. Feed your dog twice a day. Make him sit for his food each time.

Second thing, space. That includes beds, couches and chairs. Make your dog sit before you invite him up on the future. That’s important. We’re not taking anything away. Just want him to sit. You start to balance things. He wants this, you want to sit. Space also can include doors to go in and out to the back yard to go potty. Sit to go outside and sit to come back in through that same door. Begin to work that with your dog so that there is an expectation that he has to give before he receives. Really, really important. That will change your life.

Alright, toys. Make him sit for his toys. Pick them up every night before you go to bed. The next day, when you start your day, you make your dog sit for his toys. If he want’s a squeaky squirrel, got to sit. There it is. We don’t care if he plays with it right away or anytime during the day, but you dole out four or five toys, he’s got to sit for each one. That becomes habit and routine with you and your dog. There’s got to be some give before he receives. Consistency, repetition on a daily basis makes it all work for you eventually. Alright?

Last thing is love and affection. Make sure that you, if you’ve given away free love and affection to your dog then he’s got to sit to earn it now. We’re not taking that away either. We’re just trying to balance things in your dog’s life. If he wants affection from you, wants to get snuggles on the couch or petting when he comes up and nudges you like that, just make him sit first. Sometimes it’s better with a real pushy dog to send to him away and then call him back on your terms, make him sit and then pet him. That can work equally as well or even better, but earning love and affection is a big thing.

I will say this, every single thing that I have mentioned is not rocket science stuff. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s beyond simple. Your biggest challenge is remembering to get in the groove in asking for a sit every single day in every way.  Once you have your well trained dog, watch the stress go down and the compliments go up!

Now, you will see amazing changes in your dog after you incorporate this. Sit for everything for at least four to six weeks in your dog. If you continue this training beyond that, suddenly one of these days, one of your neighbors or friends is going to say, “Wow, what a change in your dog. What a well-mannered dog you’ve got.” That’s where you want to be, right?  Get MY  EXACT Step By Step Sytem I use with all my clients- grab it now 


tips to avoid dominant dog problems

3 Tips to Avoid Dominant Dog Problems

Let me first describe a dominant dog.

Listed below are some characteristics that will give you some visual clues of a dominant dog:

  • Pushy
  • Assertive
  • Challenging
  • Self-assured or very strong-willed
  • High Energy
  • Excitable and easily distracted

tips to avoid dominant dog problems

Your dominant dog is not necessarily bad. He just needs a lot of structure and leadership “from you” – more so than his sibling that may be calm, laid back and easy to please. This contrast between dominant dog and laid back sibling usually never presents a problem.

But, when your two dogs are closer in temperament, you could make some mistakes thereby creating conflicts.

For example, if you are trying to raise them as “equals” you may be setting the stage to provoke an eventual disagreement or fight. With dominant dogs there is no such thing as equals. In fact, you could be increasing conflict between your dogs and you don’t even realize what’s happening.

Don’t Incite a Riot with Your Dominant Dog

Let’s just say you are petting your older, more dominant male dog and your younger dog approaches. Your older dog growls and you correct your older dog. What’s just happened? You’ve just reinforced your younger dog’s position and increased his confidence when you are in the room. Confused? How about this.

A Human Example

Let’s say your youngest son is complaining to you because he just got yelled at for playing with his older brother’s toys. If you correct your oldest son, then he becomes powerless around your younger son “in your presence.”   If you correct your youngest son for messing with his brother’s toys without asking permission, it ends right there.

Now let’s talk about your dogs.  

Don’t create conflict with your dogs.  Just like your children, reinforce your dominant dog’s status by putting his bowl down first at feeding time, pet him first, let him out the door first.  This clarifies his pack status.  You will find that your dogs will feel less stressed with a clear understanding of the order of things.

Wouldn’t you agree that most people, maybe yourself included, find the idea of giving one dog, preferential treatment hard to do? It may go “against the grain” of our nurturing nature.

Let’s look at 3 tips you’ll want to keep in mind, which may cause conflict or fights.

3 Tips to Avoid Dominant Dog Problems


  1. Don’t play with your dogs at such an intensity they become aroused beyond what they can tolerate. This may cause conflict or fighting over your attention.
  2. Avoid having both dogs in small, confining spaces. An example would be your front door. When guests arrive, this can create high excitement with both dogs in the same space.
  3. Feeding time can be a frenzy sometimes creating competition for food. If you have been feeding at the same time, begin to vary your feeding time.

Try this: instead of feeding at 5:30, feed at 6:00. Change it up every day.

If your dogs become over-excited at meal times, leave their bowls on the counter and walk away. Repeat this until you get quiet, calm compliance at mealtime. Good obedience training helps with this. A well-disciplined down/stay can do wonders! Both dogs should sit and down for their food.

If you are struggling with feeding times, separate the dogs at feeding time. One you have each individual dog under control with your obedience commands, you can then feed together. Remember, you always want to establish a clear, consistent pecking order as I’ve mentioned. Work on your obedience every day for 2 minutes, 3 times a day. You will be amazed at the change in your dogs.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Have fun and tired your dog out with dog nose work

Step by Step Fun with Dog Nose Work

Have fun with dog nose work, engage your kids and think outside the box.  All at the same time.

Have fun and tired your dog out with dog nose work

Think about it.

Of all the senses that your dog comes with, his sense of smell is the way he “connects” with the world. It only makes sense that this could provide you, your kids and your dog an opportunity to do something everyone would enjoy and let your dog amaze you at how adept he can become at finding things.

All you need to do is to educate and train your dog’s nose. The amazing thing is – it won’t take long at all.

How to Train Your Dog’s Nose

Here’s an example of how I helped a client train her dog’s nose:

I walked a path on her floor scooting my feet along the floor for about 6-8’ away from her. I turned a corner and placed a high value food treat on the floor (just out of sight from the starting point.)

I retraced my steps back to the starting point placing very tiny treat particles in my pathway. This helped teach her dog to keep his nose to the ground.

She then brought her dog in the room and pointed to the first treat crumb as she said, “Find it!” He quickly followed the trail to the high value food treat and was praised, “Good find it – with squeals of delight!”

This was repeated with fewer and fewer crumbs in the pathway to finally none at all.

As her dog picked up the game, the path or “track” became more complex with more turns in the path.

: Once the dog “got the game,” we introduced the kids who laid their track to their hiding place. Boom! – You now have “hide and seek” with your dog!

Seventh: Hide and seek is now a favorite indoor game that they will eventually expand to outdoors.

Try this inside tracking game with your dog and get him good at his game. Then take him outside. Now the fun really begins.

Up the Ante for Your Dog’s Nose Work Outside!

You can continue expanding your dog’s nose work outside by laying your track and then placing a leather garden glove (laden with your scent) for your dog to find at the end of the track. Place a high value food treat on the glove. Don’t forget to double lay your track with food crumbs back to the starting point.

Take your dog to the starting point and say, “Find it!”

Up The Ante Again:  You can also teach your dog to finish the track by lying down when he finds the article. Once he “gets the game,” change out the articles to metal objects like car keys (blanks on a key ring from Home Depot). These don’t soak up your scent as well as a leather garden glove. It will complicate it a little and keep the game interesting.

Up The Ante One More Time!  Later, increase difficulty by adding turns to your track and hiding the object behind things – like plants or a flower pot. You can also introduce your dog to specific scents for tracking purposes outside. Purchase dove, quail or rabbit scent from Cabelas (on-line hunting catalogue) and lay a scent trail around the perimeter of your back yard.

Mix Up The Nose Work Fun

Put treat crumbs in the scent track to get your dog to keep his nose to the ground and follow that new scent. Gradually eliminate the treat crumbs. Always remember, don’t train for too long. Keep your sessions short – 5 to 10 minutes maximum. Above all, have a great time bonding with your dog while using his natural instincts.

You will have also enriched your dog’s backyard environment with your scent tracking games. Before it was always the same every single day. Now, your dog will go out into his backyard with a renewed interest! Now it all makes sense – right? Which will you do first to rev up your dog’s nose? Will you lay track with your scent or the scents of rabbits or dove?

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients. Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog. He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

My Dog Ignores me outside

My Dog Ignores Me When We’re Outside


My Dog Ignores me outside



My dog ignores me when we’re outside and he refuses to come to me especially at the dog park. What gives?

He learned to come to me in that obedience class we took – but now it’s like he’s forgotten everything!

Not only are you frustrated, but also tad bit embarrassed right?

Today I am going to teach you about one critical reason you’re not getting the results you want when you call your dog.

It’s a mistake most people make when training their dog — mostly because in a group class it’s not really talked about that much.

But it truly is critical. One day it could save your dog from harm.  Here’s your video

One of the training scenarios I always go over with my clients is what I like to call the Power of 6 in dog training.

This is an easy formula to include with your dog training and I take you through this step by step in this article:  The Power Of Six

Be sure to read it and let me know if you have questions. I read each and every comment and I enjoy having you all add your thoughts to the conversation.

Remember, the question you ask must just help another frustrated dog owner.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Puppy Potty Training Mistakes

Please Don’t Make These Mistakes Potty Training Your Puppy!

Puppy Potty Training Mistakes


It is entirely possible to not have a single accident when potty training your puppy.

When we found Sammy 9 years ago at 8 weeks of age neither Leila or I personally had had a puppy in a long long time. So it was an adjustment to our lifestyle.

So, of course, I took what I teach my clients and we followed the pattern. Sammy never had an accident in the house as a puppy and to this day at 9 years of age, he’s never soiled in the house.

Now most of you won’t believe me when I say that and here’s why.
You don’t understand how to set your puppy up to succeed. Instead you make numerous mistakes and actually are inadvertently teaching your puppy to potty in the house.

In this video I’m going to explain two mistakes you’re making, and how to easily fix those 2 mistakes so you can set your puppy up to succeed at being potty trained.

Now there is a lot more you can learn about successfully potty training your puppy.

I want you to go read this article for lots more help.

If you have more questions, just put them in the comments and be as specific as you can so it not only helps me answer you better, but helps other with the same issues.  See you there!

Thanks for letting me share my puppy training knowledge with you.  Don’t be a stranger. 

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog



Stop your dog's house soiling

Stop Dog House Soiling 5 Easy Steps

I understand your frustration because of your dog house soiling problem.
Stop your dog's house soiling
It stinks, it’s ruined your floors and worst of all – it’s downright embarrassing.

Here are 5 easy steps that will help you stop dog house soiling.

Once you’ve ruled out all medical issues that may be causing his “accidents,” (e.g.; bladder infection) we begin.


Follow These 5 Easy Steps


#1. The Hardest Step – Change What You Do


The Root Cause of His Insecurities May Begin with You.  Too much unearned lap time and love and affection can send the wrong message to your dog leaving him to feel he needs to be close to you all the time. Marking his territory may be his way of dealing with the stress of you being away.  Added stress and anxiety comes when he gets corrected for his dirty little deeds.

#2. Put More Structure in His Life

Less stress for your dog will come with more structure.  This should include a job for him to do.  A job in life which simply comes from doing a sit for every thing he could possibly want from you. Make your own list starting with love and affection (given in moderation of course).
Other things for your “sit” list that he could earn might include: food, toys, walks, access to you on the couch, etc.

#3.  Temporarily Break the Cycle

Set him up to succeed by helping him break the cycle of his house soiling deeds with the use of crates, gates and leashes. When you can’t personally supervise your dog, secure him somewhere safe where he will not soil. This is a critical part of his rehabilitation.

#4 Reinforce Where You Want Him to Go

Get him back in the habit of understanding where you want him to go – outside in an approved area of your choice. Rewarding him for his good efforts will cause him to do it more. Praise and treat him every time.

#5. Give it Time to Work

Dogs can read your emotional energy so make a sincere and unconditional commitment to your dog to help him through his rehabilitation.

If you are sincere, he will know it. Pledge to keep him no matter what and help him succeed.

They say patience is a virtue. It took a long time for him to come to this place of insecurity. Give the steps time to work for him and you.

Have patience and be very consistent with everything you do every day in his re-house training. Know that he cannot succeed without your help. Believe in him and help him to be a better dog.

Thanks for letting me share my dog training knowledge with you.   Don’t be a stranger.  Feel free to chat with me below.  I’d love to hear your struggles about your dog soiling the house.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

Dog Training Short Sweet To the point

Dog Training: Short Sweet to the Point

You might look at dog training as a “time luxury” you can’t afford.

Simple structure in the home, like earning “twice-a-day” meals by getting a simple sit, seems to be too much for many.

Dog Training Short Sweet To the point

Asking for any additional add-ons to the dog’s learn-to-earn program seems to push an already time-crunched dog owner to the point of shut down.  Sound familiar?

Now, trust me, I’m in no way judging here.  I am simply relating how things are in my world of dog training.  

Why I Get Calls

I get calls at the point of shut down, but not for obedience type dog training.

I get the calls to address the dog behavior problems the dog owner sees as a result of not doing their regular dog obedience training.

But, dog owners seem to view it in reverse perspective.  That is, they see it as, “what can we get by with no, or as little as possible, dog training” at first.

Weird Irony

So it’s not that odd, if you’re that frustrated dog owner, that a very simple statement I’ve made before once again rings true.

“You will spend far less time teaching your dog the behavior you want, than constantly correcting the behavior you don’t like.”

The irony is that dog owners are somehow content with the bad dog behavior, not doing anything about it till they get to the point of shut down. Then I get the call.

Short, Sweet and to the Point

Dog training should be short, sweet and to the point. It definitely should not be complicated or take big chunks of time out of your day.

Let’s Break it Down

Training sessions that are too long can cause a dog to loose focus and sometimes become stressed – or zoned out.  
So, do you know what I mean by my question, “Do you zone your dog out?
If you’re training your dog and notice that he seems to become very distracted, not paying attention, and not having fun – then you’re zoning your dog out.
See, here’s the deal.  It will seem simple but it is one of the MAJOR things I see dog and puppy owners do that defeats their entire dog training exercise.

Keep it Short

Don’t train for more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time – that’s it! Simple,  right?
This is especially true with puppies. They simply can not keep their attention on training for more than a few minutes or maybe even 1 minute if they’re really young.
So your next question to me is:  So I only train for 2 or 3 minutes in an entire day??? My dog will never get trained that way.
Wait, there’s more! 🙂   
Train in 2 or 3 minute increments BUT you do those 2 or 3 minute training sessions several times throughout the day.  Space them about 1 hour apart.

Your dog listens, he learns, he absorbs the lesson in between sessions and …you have fun, he has fun.  All is right in the world of dog and puppy training!

This is one of seven training tips that you can have for free.  

Keep it Sweet

Use high value treats to reward your dog for the good behavior you want. Consistency and repetition gets it done!

Keep it To the Point

Make a list of preferred behaviors. Train until you get the behavior you prefer. Working on one thing at a time keeps it to the point and avoids over training.

I can think of 6 more fixable training mistakes you’re probably making. Want to know what they are and, for free?

Remember, grab your free training HERE, and join over 500 people who are glad they did.

I’m always curious about your input – it’s important to me.   Comment below with the training frustrations you have.  Let’s find a solution for you.  I’m listening!

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and shows you how to make it work with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.